- US Navy
- The delivery of the newest America-class amphibious assault ship USS Tripoli, which was expected this fall, has been delayed due to “technical design issues,” USNI News reports, citing the shipbuilder.
- The new America-class ships, while smaller than an aircraft carrier, are flattops that are capable of carrying F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters.
- News that delivery of the USS Tripoli has been pushed back to the end of the year, possibly next year, comes as the Navy struggles to fix problems on the USS Gerald R. Ford, which was expected to be return to the fleet in July but will instead be delivered in October.
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Delivery of the USS Gerald R. Ford, the first of a new class of supercarriers, has already been delayed, and now it looks like the USS Tripoli, the second ship of a new class of assault ships built to carry stealth fighters, is going to be delivered to the service late as well.
The Tripoli was expected to be commissioned this fall, but Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) is pushing the delivery date back to the end of the year or possibly into next year as the company addresses technical design issues, Mike Petters, HII chief executive, said Thursday, USNI News reports.
“The systems are working today. It’s just a question of whether they will work for the life of the ship,” Petters said during a conference call with analysts Thursday. “We’re working through a couple of technical design issues that we’re working and discussing with the Navy.”
Petters did not set a specific delivery date for the Tripoli.
- US Navy
“We think that’ll come to a resolution around the end of the year, and predicting whether it’s the end of this year or the beginning the next year, we don’t want to put up sort of any extra pressure on that,” the chief executive said. “We want to resolve that the right way.”
Sometimes described as a “small aircraft carrier,” the USS Tripoli is the newest America-class amphibious assault ship. These aviation-focused flattops were designed to carry the Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters, the Marine Corps’ stealth fighter variant that’s equipped with lift fans for short takeoff and vertical landings.
The ship completed builder’s trials last month, during which time the large amphib spent four days in the Gulf of Mexico. In a statement on the recent trials, the Navy did not note any problems or suggest that the possibility of a delayed delivery.
As The War Zone notes, HII’s characterization of current problems as “technical design issues” may indicate that there are also problems with the USS America, the first of this new class of ships. As is, there are already questions about whether the America and the Tripoli can adequately meet the mission demands, field a full complement of F-35B stealth fighters, or effectively combat cyber threats.
- United States Navy
News that the Tripoli may be handed over to the Navy later than expected comes as the service faces sharp criticisms over its handling of the USS Gerald R. Ford, whose pricetag has ballooned to $13 billion.
The Ford was initially expected to leave maintenance in July, but its return to the fleet was delayed due to ongoing problems with the advanced weapons elevators, among other problems. Work on the ship is behind schedule and a few billion dollars over budget with costs continuing to grow.
When the Ford finally returns to the fleet, the advanced weapons elevators, critical systems required to move munitions to the flight deck, are expected to be only partially operational, despite the secretary of the Navy assuring President Trump that he would get it done or the president could fire him.